Acts 21: 10-17Written by kathleen on Jan 10, 2016 in - No Comments
Preparation or Warning
GREET EACH OTHER / WHERE ARE THEY FROM ?
As we read the Bible and you come across statements that could be considered Prophetic concerning future events especially some within our lifetime that have the possibility to be fulfilled; what is your response?
Is it just good information to have; or does that information cause something in you to want to take action?
From time to time we need to ask ourselves “Am I in a place of understanding that when God tells us something in the Bible that it is for our own good and is change to be expected?
The Bible tells us that in the end times it will be perilous. Most Bible teachers agree this is the position of the church called end times; located on a biblical time line of God’s plan for the church.
Therefore when we read in the bible 2 Tim 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power
How are we to respond to this statement? Perilous Times!
Perilous is described as = involving or full of grave risk; hazardous; dangerous: risky, not safe to expose because of the chance of injury or loss.
God’s words of preparation and warning have been in place for His people through out the Bible and now we are on the doorstep of the next major event in God’s time line for humanity! (Rapture of the church) (Believers who are following Christ)
It’s a no brainer; that today is the day all of us should begin to consider making some adjustments to our lifestyle considering what we are told in the Bible; and what type of relationship we have with Jesus!
If it is coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ or a choice to commit your life to begin to work out your salvation with fear and trembling!
In this part of the text the Apostle Paul is receiving first hand a prophetic word from God concerning his near future; telling him there were going to be difficulties and obstacles.
Satan and this world was going to throw everything they could at Paul including a physical death. The amazing thing is Paul kept going.
One of the questions this morning as we look at this text is; like Paul are we willing to keep following Jesus no matter what!
Heb 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
If the ones who reject Christ as savior and are not willing to allow Him to be Lord of their life; these verses aren’t going to mean much!
BUT If you are a born again follower of Jesus are these verses a Preparation or Warning for us?
You see because of what Paul overcame on his journey to Rome his testimony and story have even more power because it was a life of difficulty and struggle, and yet he kept going because his focus was on the finish line.
EXAMPLES OF OUR STRUGGLES
Paul’s life struggles = 2 Cor 11:23-29 23 in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness — 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
We saw it last week in his farewell speech to the church in Ephesus, after he taught the whole gospel of Christ; he was willing to leave a relatively comfortable place to go to a place of danger because his focus was on the finish line.
So Paul tells the church goodbye and despite the warning that he has already received he sets out for Jerusalem. He makes a few stops along the way.
We pick the story up with his stop in Caesarea; Paul is staying in the house of Philip the evangelist. This is the same Philip who was a deacon and evangelist who baptized an Ethiopian and is now the father of four daughters who were Prophetess.
While he is there God sends him another warning. Look at verse 10 “After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, 11 he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, ‘The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”
The warning that Paul received was unmistakable he couldn’t miss it, it came from a man who was already recognized as a prophet,
Acts 11:28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius in the fourth year of his office (45 A.D.), and was particularly centered in Judea.
The warning was both visual and verbal. God was letting Paul know what was coming, not so that he could avoid it, but so that he could be prepared for it.
The journey that God had Paul on was going to end in his death, but God was warning him every step of the way.
When God gives us a task He will always prepare us for the task.
12 “When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.” the issue here was not one of faith, but one of love. These people loved Paul and concern for his well being and to keep him safe physically.
The reaction of the church people was unexpected So many people would say that theologically their response was wrong, that they should have responded with faith.
But here again we see the people in the church respond with love and concern for Paul’s safety.
As a church we are supposed to care for each other and love each other and are instructed in Heb 10:23-25: 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Preparation or warning?)
We see that in this verse, it’s not just the people in Caesarea who are concerned about Paul, notice Luke writes that “we and the people there pleaded with Paul.”
“We” included Luke and Paul’s traveling companions, the reality of what was about to happen was starting to hit home and they were all concerned for him.
Therefore we as a church of followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to obey the truth through the Spirit and have concern for, and love one another.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.
Holy living is incomplete if it isn’t accompanied by love. One of many things to live a Christian life means to have a sincere love of the brethren, and we are encouraged to exercise that love fervently.
Such love is only possible (and only to be expected) of those who have been born again by placing our trust in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection; for the reconciliation (taking away) of our sin
When we are born again it doesn’t only give us a new life but also removes all guilt from the past and allows us to love one another.
If the word of God is as Isaiah chapter 40 vs. 8 says it is; that the word of the Lord endures forever; then we are both obligated by it; and empowered by it; to live out the kind of love and holiness Peter speaks of and what Paul has been demonstrating
(Preparation or warning)
13 “Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’
14 When we would not be persuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’
They ceased arguing and started traveling. God had clearly communicated His will to Paul and even though it was a road we would all prefer to avoid Paul was willing to walk it.
But more than that; Paul led them in seeking God’s will.
That’s how the church works; we are a group of people together on a journey with God to serve Him and grow to be more like Him.
Sometimes the road will be difficult, but we are still to follow His will. (Times we must pick up that cross and follow Him!)im)hh
So despite the dangers ahead, despite the fact that the church people didn’t want Paul to go, He follows what God tells him to do.
15 And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. 17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
Paul leaves Caesarea and we see it again just like we did in Ephesus, and also in Jerusalem the church showed affection for each other.
The church is the place that we can come and pray for each other. It has to be the place where we can come when we “just need a hug.”
It’s interesting in our society it’s almost become a cliché the number of times that we say to each other, “how are you doing.” And don’t even wait for an answer because we’re expecting the other person to say, “fine or good” and then move on.
But have you noticed that there are times that you either ask the question or are asked the question and the answer goes beyond one word.
That is what the church should be like; the majority of the time that question only needs a one word answer but sometimes we all need to go beyond the simple “I’m fine and you?” Because there are times when we’re not fine, or we’re not okay.
That is when the church needs to be a place where people can find a friend and find that ear to hear or word spoken in a timely manner and a place where we care for each other!
May we never lose that concern for the people that we’ve known for years but may we also always be reaching out to the people around us and to the people who are new to our family.
For the world will know you are a Christian by your love!
Pray for the person you met this morning!
To experience, enjoy, & practice the fullness of Gods love a person must be born again!
The sharing of Agape Love or unconditional love comes from allowing the Holy Spirit of God to live through us; and that can’t happen until He lives within us!